Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Two International Academic Experts(?), Shibley Telhami and Steven Hull Write About Israel Giving Up Its Nuclear Weapons

Another Example Of How Academics Live in a Different World

The major problem continuing to face the world in the Middle East is the progress that Iran is making towards acquiring the capability of developing nuclear weapons.  The situation is so grave that Republican Presidential candidates have announced that they would go to war with Iran if the possibility of their manufacturing these weapons becomes more of a probability.  (They can, of course, get away with this kind of talk because no one believes them.)

Writing in the New York Times are two so called experts.  Shibley Telhami is a professor of government at the University of Maryland and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Steven Kull is director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes.  Their position is this.

Many people assume that Israel must choose between letting Iran develop nuclear weapons or attacking before it gets the bomb. But this is a false choice. There is a third option: working toward a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. And it is more feasible than most assume.

They would have Israel give up its nuclear arsenal, which it is has since at least the 1960’s in return for Iran giving up its development of nuclear weapons.  This they say would solve the problem of nuclear weapons in the region and potential nuclear attacks.

If one were looking for the two most accurate words to describe the authors and their proposal it would “hopelessly” and “na├»ve”.  The proposal is based on the proposition that (a) Iran is a rationale country and (b) that the stimulus for Iran to develop nuclear weapons is to defend itself, presumably against an Israeli attack.  As for the first of these, if anyone can state that Iran has a rationale government and is interested in pursuing a peaceful co-existent with its neighbors than that person must be so ignorant of the history of the Iranian regime and the history of the middle east that the ignorance was intentionally acquired.  No one can be that clueless accidentally.

As for the second idea, that Iran is responding to the Israeli threat of a nuclear attack this too defies reality.  Israel has had nuclear capability for decades.  It has no interest in attacking Iran or anybody else.  Its sole national goal is to live in peace and security with its neighbors.  Those neighbors, on the other hand, have as their national goal the destruction of the state of Israel.  The only reason they have not launched a massive attack to kill every Jewish Israeli is that they are not capable of doing so. 

People like the authors of this outrageous proposal see the Middle East as a struggle between rational parties interested in pursuing goals of political stability and economic growth.  They ignore the fanatical drive of those who would destroy Israel solely on the basis that in there minds Israel is an illegitimate state and cannot be allowed to exist. 

The idea that Iran and the other anti-Israeli countries would disarm if Israel disarms is worst than delusional, it is dangerous to the peace of the region.  And for Israel it is worse than dangerous, it is suicidal.

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